Open-air museum at Kizhi, Russia

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If you voyage along Russia’s Volga River, you’ll surely stop on the island of Kizhi to view its open-air museum, founded in 1951. The most prominent display is Kizhi Pogost: two wooden churches and a bell tower that comprise a UNESCO World Heritage site. The elegant Transfiguration Cathedral, crowned with 22 cupolas, is a masterpiece.

You’ll also see farmhouses, barns, mills, and a sauna, all constructed in traditional Russian fashion. Inside are domestic artifacts: tools, dishes, utensils, samovars, handmade lace, and furniture.

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Umbria, Italy

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Umbria is the only Italian region having neither a coastline nor a border with other countries; hence it is arguably the most Italian place it Italy. It includes Perugia (which you may know for its famous Perugina Baci classic chocolates) and Assisi (which you may know for St. Francis), as well as gorgeous landscapes and excellent food and wine. We recently enjoyed a week there, photographing in Orvieto and nearby areas.

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The streets of Bali

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No wonder Bali is such a popular holiday spot—it has something for everyone. Here are some of our favorite photos, from street food to wood (and skull!) carvers, traditional dancers to young lovers, and spectacular street processions to haunting masks.

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The Marta Festival

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Every year since pagan times, the town of Marta in Umbria, Italy, has held the Barabbata festival, celebrating the cycle of seasons and the fertility of land and sea. It’s a wonderful spectacle that the men and boys of the village participate in, hauling elaborate floats past thousands of spectators and up a long hill to culminate in blessings at the local church and a picnic with plenty of pork sandwiches and wine.

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Street food in Bali

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We were warned against eating street food in Bali, but couldn’t resist, so we tried despite concerns about getting “Bali belly.” Fortunately, we had no problems — and the food was wonderful! The warm meatball soup we got at this little green cart was particularly good.

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Tasty meals at Bedulu in Bali

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Our tiny resort in Bedulu was beautiful, and the family restaurant served us fresh, tasty meals. The care that went into preparing even a simple fruit plate was typically Balinese, and continued to delight us as we visited various parts of the island.

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Semondu restaurant in Sri Lanka

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The name of the restaurant “Semondu” is derived from the word Simoundou, an ancient name for Sri Lanka given by Ptolomy, the famous Roman mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet. Semondu’s interior has a modern fusion theme, in keeping with its cuisine, and incorporates “colonial charm” with modern ambiance. We loved with the glass floor, which changed colors across the spectrum.

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King Coconut in Sri Lanka

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Here, a friendly street vendor uses his machete to open a coconut, then shows us how to use a slice of the of the outside shell as a spoon to scoop out the tasty “meat” inside. Both the cool coconut water and the mild-tasting, jelly-like meat are especially refreshing.

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Travel Features and Photos from Bay Area Travel Writers

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Travel Features and Photos: California’s National Parks, Monuments, Trails, Seashores and Historic Sites launched in December, 2015. Beautifully photographed and expertly written by members of BATW, this latest anthology explores and celebrates national parks and monuments in the Golden State — a tribute to the National Park Service on its 100th anniversary in 2016.

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Cruising the Volga River on Volga Dream

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The luxurious Volga Dream — the most elegant yacht on the Volga River — seems more like a charming floating hotel with a library, lounge-bar, and sun deck. The gracious service, sumptuous cuisine, and thoughtful planning made us feel right at home. and there’s no better way to see river cities between Moscow and St. Petersburg like Uglich, Yaroslavl, Goritsy, Kizhi, Mandrogy, and Valaam.

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